Today, there are approximately 124 million blind people in the world. According to estimates of the World Health Organization, by 2020 their number could double.
Annually, January 4 is World Braille Day. This Day was established in memory of the anniversary of the birth of Louis Braille, a French educator who invented a tactile relief-dot system of writing for the blind and visually impaired.
World Braille Day is designed to raise public awareness of the importance of Braille and other similar formats that allow people with visual impairments to read and write. In this article, we want to tell about the life of this wonderful man, as well as about the amazing woman Anna Alexandrovna Adler.
Louis Braille was born in 1809 in the family of an artisan in the small French town of Couvre. His father was a horse harness maker. Louis had two older sisters and a brother.
Once, when the kid was 3 years of age, he played in his dad’s workshop and hurt his eyes. Contamination has hit the eye, and the irritation has gone to the solid eye. Step by step the kid went dazzle. Guardians were exceptionally stressed over their little child since visually impaired individuals had a tragic future: a destitute presence and an eager life for donations.
But the father decided to develop the boy. He made for his son special plates with slots, which he taught the alphabet. Later, Louis was taught to write. The father everywhere tried to take his son with him. He taught him to distinguish the singing of birds, the cries of animals and the scent of flowers. And my father told his son about God.
From the age of seven, Louis began attending school in Couvre. The boy surprised the teachers with his abilities and very quickly became the best student. And in 10 years, parents decide to give his son to the Royal Institute for Blind Children.
And at the Institute, Louis became the first student in all subjects. He especially enjoyed playing music: he mastered the piano and organ. At age 16, a boy receives a paid organist’s place in a small church near the Institute. For most of his life, he serves as an organist in various temples of Paris.
Training at the institute was based on listening and memorizing. The letter was almost absent. The library had a small number of books printed according to the method of Valentin Hauy. Despite the fact that the books were heavy and cumbersome, and it took a long time to read, this was a favorite occupation of Louis.
World Braille Day
From the age of 12, Louis Braille began his experiments in creating an alphabet for the blind. He used every free minute, sometimes spending his nights at the experiments. He completed his work completed by the age of 15. The method consisted of using various combinations of 6 convex points, each letter of the French alphabet corresponded to its location of points. Punctuation marks and numbers were also displayed. Continuing his research, Louis adapted the method for musical notation.
In 1829, Louis Braille released a small book, which described the possibilities of the relief-point font invented by him. The new method was enthusiastically adopted by the students of the Braille Institute. However, scientists, professors, and officials were in no hurry to introduce innovation in life.
While living at the Institute, Louis Braille was very active: he studied the organ, participated in worship services as an organist, and studied at the College of France. At the age of 17 he became a teacher in the younger groups, and at the age of 19, he taught almost the entire program of the Institute (arithmetic, geography, grammar, music). Pupils adored their young mentor for his endless kindness and compassion.
Nothing could stop Louis Braille’s tireless work, even the fact that by the age of 26 he had been sick with tuberculosis. And the main treatment was rest.
Louis kept on taking a shot at enhancing his technique. He considered the way that relatively few located individuals possess his strategy, and the visually impaired need to know the typical letters in order. So his visually impaired wards could speak with their located family and companions, he developed a unique igloo, with the assistance of which it was conceivable to emblazon conventional letters in alleviation. In any case, this strategy took a ton of time.
Braille was helped by Pierre Foucault to solve this problem. He became blind at 6 years old, but was a gifted person, especially in matters of mechanics. Foucault proposed to use the machine he invented, which he called “Keyboard Printer”. When you press the button, an inked imprint of an ordinary letter appeared, and at the same time, this letter acquired a relief. Such text could read and blind, and sighted. So the typewriter grandmother was born.
Braille’s health continued to deteriorate. He spent his holidays in his native Kouvre, breathed the useful mountain air, but was heart and soul with his students and work. He could not stay long alone.
Braille worried very little about his needs and his health. Of the money he received, only a small part of it was spent on himself, buying the most necessary, and putting off the rest to help others. He used his savings to purchase books and tools for writing poor students to his method.
Louis Braille was known for his endless kindness, for which he never sought gratitude. After his death in his personal things, friends found a small box with the inscription: “Burn without opening”. The inscription intrigued people, and the box was opened. There were hundreds of receipts for data in debt money. Friends performed the will of Braille: the box and its contents were burned.
It seemed that Braille’s health had improved, and he was again teaching. However, he was very weak and, to save his strength, spoke quietly. But his state of health did not affect the quality of teaching. He is still loved and respected by his students.
At this time, the Braille relief-point method is actively used at the Institute: students are taught it in classes, books and notes are printed on it. According to the notes printed in this way, classical music and church services are performed. The method is becoming more and more famous in Europe. The time will come, and the whole world will know about it!
Braille’s health deteriorates again, and he asks to let him go to rest. The leadership of the Institute knows that Braille has no means for a decent life, and he is left as a music teacher. He teaches piano in those days when he feels good.
In December 1851, Louis Braille’s wellbeing condition crumbled fundamentally. Be that as it may, he resisted the urge to panic, persuaded that his natural mission was finished. “It was satisfying to the Lord that there dependably be before my eyes the blinding superbness of unceasing expectation,” he told his companions previously his demise. Louis Braille passed on January 6, 1852, he was 43 years of age. He was covered in the burial ground of the local city of Couvre.
In 1852, the Braille method was used mainly within the walls of the Royal Institute for the Blind and a few enthusiasts outside of it. But already in 1854, the Braille method was officially recognized in France and began to spread in European countries.
And in 1878, at the World Congress in Rome, the Braille method was approved as the most appropriate method of reading and writing for blind people.
100 years after the death of Louis Braille, his body was transferred to the French Pantheon and buried along with other prominent people of France. The house where Louis Braille was born and spent his childhood has survived to this day. Now his museum is organized there.
Anna Adler was born in Moscow on February 2, 1856, in a noble family of a colonel of the Russian army. Her childhood and youth were spent in Kazan.
In 1874, Anna Alexandrovna graduated from the Kazan Mariinsky Gymnasium with a silver medal. Within the walls of the gymnasium, her craving for pedagogical and educational work was born. Subsequently, pedagogy and enlightenment became the meaning of her whole life. In 1875, she graduated from Kazan Pedagogical Courses and received the title of home teacher.
Immediately after completing the course, Anna Adler plunged into social activities. She participated in charitable organizations during the Russian-Turkish war (1877-1878), helped the starving people in the Samara and Ufa gubernias, opened a public library and reading room in Sterlitamak district.
The 1880s marked the beginning of its almost 45 years of activity in the field of enlightenment for the blind. The minds of progressive people of that time were occupied with thoughts about changing the attitude of the state and society towards people with disabilities. The maintenance of people with disabilities, such as the blind, at the expense of donations from benefactors in charitable institutions, contributed only to their biological survival.
Persons with disabilities were actually deprived of the possibility of self-realization in socially useful work. In order to solve the problem of the need for blind people in society, institutions were needed that create the opportunity for the blind to work, which would help to unleash their potential. The necessary conditions for the full physical and intellectual development of the blind and their involvement in public life were literacy, vocational training and the possibility of subsequent employment.
Anna Adler decides to independently engage in typography for the blind, which required a lot of work and considerable financial expenses. In 1883, Anna Alexandrovna Adler was elected trustee of the Moscow School for Blind Children.
Around the same time, 1883, she made an interpretation of the music framework into an alleviation point text style. Students of the Moscow School started to figure out how to play the piano, violin, and cello, not by ear, but rather by raised notes, which enabled them to precisely imitate the song. Information of the melodic framework in the spot text style made it conceivable to think about the basic hypothesis of music and opened the best approach to proficient dominance of the instrument or voice.
Anna Adler attracted to her musical studies with the blind and her friend Varvara Dmitrievna Tsvetaeva, née Ilovaiskaya, daughter of the famous historian D.I. Ilovaisky and spouse Ivan Vladimirovich Tsvetaev, later the founder of the Museum of Fine Arts. Emperor Alexander III (now the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts).
One cannot but agree that the views of Anna Alexandrovna Adler on pedagogy were relevant to this day:
“The degree of education of society and the state is not so truly defined as the degree of their attention to the upbringing of the younger generation. Educating the younger generation is a civic duty and a common concern for all members of society.
The most ancient moralists considered wisdom and kindness to be the best qualities of the human person. Therefore, the essential task of education is to inform the pupil of a true outlook on life, to make his heart pure, receptive to all that is good and noble, to prepare him for the life struggle for faith and truth.
The fate of the pupil in the future depends on 1) what he knows, 2) what he loves, 3) what he can. Therefore, the goal of education can be defined in the following words: to educate so that in adulthood he finds himself, 1) able to do good, 2) love to do good, and 3) have the power to do good. With such inclinations, the pupil will find himself capable of fulfilling the main purpose of man on earth … ”
In 1884, Anna Adler, using her own money, ordered printing equipment in Berlin — press, typefaces, type-boxes, cash registers, and other accessories — in order to start printing books in Braille in Russia.
The printing of books was difficult for Anna Alexandrovna. Began to increase health problems. However, this did not stop her. Here is what we see from her letters.
October 16, 1885:
“… I work every day with one assistant, who is already very well accustomed to business, two more days later, which help to type or disassemble, depending on need. I work from 10 to 4, and then I’m alone all evening. Mom also helps to adjust. With such enhanced help, I manage to print one page per day in 120 copies and type part of another page, no more. ”
October 30, 1885:
“Regarding the price of books, I am positively at a standstill, so far I have spent only 325 rubles more, put about 50 rubles on the cover, and you haven’t yet appreciated the paper. Regarding the evaluation of labor in the first edition is out of the question, because I want the books to be not particularly expensive, and, moreover, the publication may not be irreproachable; Yes, and it is possible to mention in history that these books are cheaper because free labor, and this in the future will in no way oblige to anything. Finally, for my school, I can give less cheaply, because we have very little money, and the Mariinsky guardianship can pay a bit more expensive … ”
At the end of 1885, the work on the first book, which was entitled “A collection of articles for children’s reading, published and dedicated to blind children by Anna Adler”, was completed. The collection includes 5 poems by N.A. Nekrasov, 15 short stories to read, the story “The Tsar is a Worker” of Kornilovich, “The Self-Teaching Mechanic” about Kulibin, “Alexander II – the Tsar Liberator”, Louis Braille’s biography from G. Kul’s book, translated by Anna Adler from German.
So Anna Alexandrovna Adler became the first in Russia to print a book for blind children in bold six-letter font – Louis Braille. The book was released in 100 copies. The quality of the publication was not inferior to the best foreign models. Since 1885, it is considered to be the year of birth of the Braille press in Russia.
Anna Adler has also taken care of giving blind schoolchildren material for their professional orientation. To this end, she placed in her second book an essay about the wonderful blind keyboard tuner and piano master Claude Montale. He was the pioneer of the profession of blind tuners of musical instruments, and his merits were marked by the highest award of France – the Order of the Legion of Honor.
In 1891, the first graduation of St. Petersburg school of blind children took place. The following year, the first group of the blind graduated from the Moscow School. Blind boys and girls entered into an independent life. Braille books have adult readers. To meet their reading needs, not only relevant literature was required, but also the organization of library services. Anna Adler took the initiative to create a special library for the blind in Moscow. Eminent cultural figures of that time helped her in this.
Surely understood philologist and workmanship student of history, educator of Moscow University I.V. Tsvetaev, who filled in as a caretaker of the expressive arts division of the Moscow Rumyantsev Museum (presently the Russian State Library named after VI Lenin), subsequent to gaining from Adler about the issue of library administrations for the visually impaired and organizing the issue with the executive of the Rumyantsev Museum V.A. Dashkov, offered her to open a little branch at the exhibition hall for the underlying arrangement of the issue. In 1895, a table was set up in an extraordinarily assigned space for the perusers and racks were designated to suit the Braille subsidize. A special place in the social activities of A.A. Adler occupied the Polytechnic Museum, in which she started working since 1888. Becoming an employee of the museum, Anna Alexandrovna organized in it a commission on the education of the blind. In 1894, she was elected chairman of the training section for the blind Committee of Russian Workers on Technical and Vocational Education.
In 1898, thanks to her efforts in the museum (room number 56), the “Collection on the education and training of the blind” was opened. In the museum, A. Adler created a library, which became a collection of books on training, education and social status of the blind in Russia and abroad. The library services were mainly used by teachers of schools for the blind, who felt an acute need for typological literature, which was published in extremely small editions. In the library there was open access to books, books were handed out.
Revolutionary upheavals, the First World War, and then the Civil War struck the not yet strong publishing, library and museum business of the blind. The disorganized school system, the elimination of the embryonic forms of preferential social services for the visually impaired, and the abolition of all guardianship societies deprived the blind of all the valuable and useful things that have been achieved in these areas.
Everything had to rebuild. In March 1923, an initiative group was formed in Moscow to create the All-Russian Society of the Blind (VOS). It consisted of prominent public figures, blind soldiers and workers. Boris Petrovich Mavromati, a blind man from childhood, a lawyer by education, working as a political commissar at the Moscow school for blind children, was elected chairman of the group. Anna Alexandrovna Adler took part in the work of the group. Despite her age and shaky health, she helped a group of blind activists tasked with drafting the first BOC Statute.
July 22, 1924, Anna Alexandrovna Adler died. She died in the 68th year of life after a serious illness. Anna Adler was buried in Moscow at the German (Vvedensky) cemetery.
Anna Alexandrovna Adler did not live just a couple of months before the opening of the I Congress of the All-Russian Society of the Blind. She gave 44 years of her life to serving blind individuals. The core of a man who, with his endless vitality, propelled individuals to great, legit and unselfish work for the sake of kindness and love, halted.
Facts about Louis Braille
Louis Braille (1809 – 1852)
- 1809: Louis Braille was born on January 4 in Coupvre, a small town east of Paris.
- 1812: at the age of three, he accidentally pierced his eye with an awl in his father’s workshop. The infection spread to the second eye and little Louis remained completely blind.
- 1819: Louis entered the School for young blind people. He spent 24 years in it, first as a student, then as a teacher.
- 1820: Braille became acquainted with the “night writing” system. He studied it and developed his own method in 1825 when he was only 15 years old.
- 1827: Braille becomes a teacher at the School, where he conducts courses in grammar, history, geography, arithmetic, algebra, geometry, piano and cello.
- 1829: The first version of his method was printed. The second version, supplemented by some innovations, was published eight years later and was a Braille method, as we know it today.
- 1852: On January 6, Louis Braille passed away at the age of 43 from tuberculosis. He was buried in Kupvre, where the house where he was born still stands. Currently, the house is converted into a museum.
- 1952: Braille’s body was transferred to the Paris Pantheon – not far from the School for young blind people, where he spent most of his life.